A petition has done the rounds to draw attention to the pollution of major water systems.
Anthony Duigan writes, "The apparent inability of two water authorities - Joburg Water and the Department of Water Affairs - to responsibly and competently manage key water resources is doing lasting damage to our country and its people. We cannot stay silent as one of Gauteng’s premier waterways - the Jukskei-Crocodile system - is being destroyed by what appears to be negligence and incompetence. The Northern Wastewater Treatment Works, one of the largest in the country that once proudly boasted Green Drop status, continues week after week, month after month, to pump sewage into this river system. We will not allow this to continue."
The petition is the opening salvo in a fight for responsible management of precious water resources. The petition was signed by over 400 people affected by the negligence of Northern Wastewater Purification Works. The evidence is not only in the sight and smell of all those along the banks of these rivers. It is clearly visible from the air and in photographs taken over the treatment works.
Some of the signatories commented on the situation. These include -
Piers Pirow, senior scientist, NECSA: Our analysis of the river shows a large increase in various sewage-related and other pollutants in the Crocodile River area well above various limits. There is also a significantly strong odour and a change of colour most likely also from the same sewage related pollutants. Maco- chemical, bacterial, biomonioting , radiological and organic results and reports are available from Necsa.
Dave Muller, Hills and Dales: The pollution affects everyone. This river flows through Diepsloot and is the drinking water for cattle, is used to wash clothes, to baptize people and to grow vegetables. It is totally unfit for anyone or anything to come into contact with it.
Judith Taylor, Earthlife Africa: The pollution of our rivers and catchments by badly maintained or failed sewage works is compromising our access to clean water. Furthermore, the possibility of diseases such as dysentery and cholera in impoverished communities is a real threat.
Pieter Horn, Hills and Dales: We must ensure Joburg Water takes legal responsibility for damages to the environment as well as for potential illnesses, both human and animal, that may result from these spillages due to their gross neglect.